I first considered professional relevance when I was a database programmer.
I realized that without the program I was creating, they would have needed actual people to do the job that I was making the computer do.
A LOT OF PEOPLE.
A lot of people in a lot of places, including London, Tokyo, New York, and Chicago.
Yet and still, there I was doing the job by myself in a Manhattan hi-rise for like one millionth of the cost of employing all those people who used to do “my” job.
I didn’t think about this for long because it wasn’t my problem, but I think I carried that lesson with me throughout my professional careers.
Depending on what it is that you do, that job may go out of style next year, 5 years from now, or 10 years from now, and then what are you going to do? o_O
I’ve always considered PERSONAL relevance, and I’ve always personally been relevant.
“Always” meaning that from my earliest memories, I was aware of what I’ll call “my relative meaning” in a situation.
Obviously, at 5 or 6 years old, I wasn’t aware that I was an empath, and by extension, I wasn’t aware that other people aren’t empaths.
I could always tell how much support I had in a room, compared to the people who were anti- me and the people who didn’t care about me either way.
Another natural asset I have is that I make friends extremely quickly.
Thinking about it now, I can attribute that to my being an empath because since I can tell what other people are up to without them saying anything, I receive positive energy from them and I return it to them.
I don’t have to be around anyone very long to be certain that they’re an honorable person, a creep, or a Non-Player Character (NPC).
NPCs are the people in the Clint Eastwood movies that run scurrying out of the street when the outlaws ride in on horses, running back to grab their children and then running to hide behind a building and maybe peek out a window.
Those people aren’t going to do anything regardless. Positive or Negative. They’re happy to just keep breathing.
There’s a difference between somebody thinking something about you and their actually doing something about how they feel.
So I’ve had advantages in assessing my personal relevance or social relevance since I was a small child.
Know The Ledge
Personal Relevance and Professional Relevance are two different things.
You don’t have to be a gregarious person to have a professional career.
You don’t have to have a career to be popular.
In fact, some of the most popular people I’ve ever known are also amazingly professionally unaccomplished, partially because they spend their time cultivating their popularity instead of their business acumen.
The question being what do you want at the end of the day? o_O
If your goal is to get laid, you can do that via having money and you can do that via being popular.
If you can already get laid for free, you don’t need money.
If your money is already getting you laid, you don’t need to be popular.
I think the main difference between assessing the two is in the way your relevance in each division erodes or disappears.
Let’s say you were an HTML programmer.
That was fine until they made C++ based graphical user interfaces (GUI) for creating websites.
The GUI made it so ANYBODY could create a website and they didn’t need to hire YOU to do it.
Career = Dead
Let’s say you’re a cashier at McDonald’s.
Now they have kiosks that take your order and swipe your card.
So while the McDonald’s still has 5 cash registers along the front desk, there’s only one human working, so they can accommodate people purchasing with cash.
The people who used to be cashiers are now just putting burgers and fries in bags or they’re entirely unemployed.
Career = Dead
Let’s say you’re a factory worker.
The factory gets moved to a foreign country or they get American jail prisoners to do your job for 26 cents an hour, and you’re SOL.
Career = Dead
This can’t happen to you socially, unless your popularity was based on a gimmick.
My popularity is based on the fact that I’m an interesting person. 😀
I can’t go out of style until I become uninteresting.
Ride The Wave
Some people’s popularity is based on one thing or one ability.
If that’s the case, their social life may go the way of their professional life.
When nobody’s “checking for” that one thing you do, it’s a wrizap.
This is because their Social Relevance is not based on who they are as a person, but instead on something they stumbled onto and decided to ride until the wheels fell off.
Except they didn’t expect the wheels to fall off.
This is especially true for people whose popularity is based on their being jerks.
The only people who enjoy your negativity are negative people.
Those same people will laugh their asses off at your downfall.
When it’s your turn to go out like a sucker, you become the same food you were feeding your sycophants.
The thing about maintaining Social Relevance is that you can’t maintain it with the same people. o_O
People outgrow you and you outgrow people.
The only people who stay with you are the ones who are down for you in whatever your current iteration is.
A chick wrote to me that she liked me better when I discussed different topics.
In fact, she never liked me at all.
She liked my topics.
She didn’t actually know ME because she’s never spent any time with me.
She’s read a few things that I’ve written on the internet.
My actual friends know WAY MORE about me, and they’re always able to bail out because it’s a free country. 😀
So people come and people go. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In 2018, I still spend time with selected and cherished friends that I spent time with in 2008.
Other than that, I would say that the top 100 people I interact with during a year changes every 2 years or so.
During my education, my set of friends would change every 4 years because you spend that much time in high school and then you spend that much time in college.
A scant few people from my high school went to my college. alum.MIT.edu/www/BillCammack
I’m currently Facebook Friends with “kids” I know from Elementary School.
So there are some people I’ve been lifelong friends with.
Everybody else is relatively new in the grand scheme of things.
In order to remain Socially Relevant, you have to retain your true friends while you ride the wave and meet new people who may or may not qualify as such in the future.
Maintaining Professional Relevance is a different animal.
You have to ride the wave of whatever you’re currently doing WHILE predicting when that wave is going to crash so you can prepare to get off of it.
So in the example I started this article out with, I was the author of my own irrelevance. 😀
My job was to create the program.
Once the program was created, all I was doing was pressing the button when we needed it to work.
ANYBODY could do that, so I was no longer necessary as a programmer BECAUSE OF MY PROGRAM! 😀
This is one of the reasons many Americans are hating life right now.
Their parents were necessary as unskilled laborers in factories.
Those people’s children are not.
Because of globalization and pawning off business to American penitentiaries where you have an unlimited resource of cheap labor for $.26/hour instead of $26/hour, the unskilled laborer in 2018 is SOL.
Even if you felt like moving to China and working basically for free (slavery), you can’t even do that, AND they have like a billion destitute people who consider working for a quarter per hour as an OPPORTUNITY! 😀
So the way your parents or grandparents got money is dead. Forget about that.
We now live in the information economy.
The more you know, the better off you are.
Also, intellect can be applied all over the world.. In Germany, Australia, California, New York, wherever. You don’t have to live where the work is. The work is in the cloud. On the internet. Transactions occur electronically and conferences are held via video chat.
If whatever it is that you do doesn’t work like that, you’re about to be SOL.
Nobody needs you to farm anything. Nobody needs you to build anything. Nobody needs you to transport anything from point A to point B. Nobody needs you to work in a warehouse. Nobody needs you as a cashier. Nobody needs you to work in the stockroom.
A friend of mine told me the other day that he had a 2nd job at Amazon.
I was amazed, and refrained from telling him that I thought robots were doing all that by now.
They even made cars that move around the country without drivers! o_O
We’re trending towards Skynet.
It’s extremely important for you to examine the possibility or PROBABILITY that whatever it is that you do right now, nobody’s going to pay you for 10 years from now.
Then we have the psychological effects of the perception of loss of relevance.
I recognized this back when I used to 9-5.
People actually cared about the company they worked for… I mean it was part of their understanding of who they were as a human being. o_O
I saw people get fired and escorted by security out of the building with zero notice whatsoever.
I knew about it ahead of time because I was friends with the security guards who were going to have to kick these people TF out of the company.
Which brings us back to my empath thread because I could tell that my friends felt HORRIBLY about what they were going to have to do to people they were friends with, but that’s the job they signed on for… To protect the company itself, not the soon-to-be-former employees.
Some people get their kicks from being able to say they’re part of such-and-such company.
Other people get their kicks from being able to say that they’re gainfully employed and they make more money than they spend every month.
Both of these things go away when you get suddenly fired.
You are no longer a part of a large company, AND you are now living off of savings until you can get a new job with a bunch of strangers after spending the past decade with your beloved coworkers.
This is assuming of course that you have any savings to live off of after getting fired…
Loss of Professional Relevance can lead to the erosion of one’s belief in one’s Personal Relevance, which is really the worst thing of all.
At the end of the proverbial day, none of this matters other than what you think of yourself.
If your self-worth is wrapped up in your job or your bank account or where you live or who you’re screwing or whether you can afford to go on vacation…..
“Fight Club” was brilliant for having Brad Pitt trying to install self-esteem in NPCs.
Whether you like yourself or not is going to depend on how effective you feel like you are at achieving your life’s goals.
Losing a job is bad, but losing belief in one’s professional viability is disastrous.
I used to work for Mike Bloomberg’s https://www.bloomberg.com/live/us, but I was never a staffer.
I immensely enjoyed working for my boss Kathleen, but my career had nothing to do with whether Bloomberg Information Television continued to exist or whether they continued to hire me.
My skills are universal, so I can work for anybody that needs video edited.
I have my own equipment, so I don’t have to travel to client sites and I can work internationally.
I don’t even need the economy where I live to be good. None of that matters. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I can work from Maryland, California, or Zimbabwe (Delaware) and absolutely nothing would be different.
If I felt like my earning potential depended upon a local factory or some other tangible person place or thing in close proximity to where I live, I would be amazingly annoyed.
I would also be vigilant as far as monitoring the trends so I could see when tangible local opportunities were running out, so I could either start learning another skill or move to another location where my skill is still required to the degree that it’s lucrative.
Destroy & Rebuild
Erosion of Personal Relevance is potentially devastating.
It’s important for people to feel like they have the potential for progress if they strive for it.
This is why you see people get fired from $80,000 USD jobs and refuse to take $40,000 jobs.
They can’t get over the demotion.
They can’t get past the fact that their career has peaked and is now declining.
They want the same job they had with the same authority they had making the same money they had, but nobody’s hiring for that.
Also, they’re currently 20 years older than when they got on that career path to begin with, so they may become victimized by ageism.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they’re riding a wave like I described earlier.
You have to have a plan for what you’re going to do if the wave crashes.
You have to “sacrifice” some of your free time that you would have spent sleeping or watching football or washing your car to make sure you have viable skills in case you need to start your own business or make yourself useful to someone you know who has a company you can work for.
In this information age, you can’t be the computer programmer who has displaced hundreds of people from their earning potential and not believe it’s going to happen TO YOU in the near future.
There are two things that will keep you afloat:
1) You’re better than others at a skill required by people or companies who have enough money to afford to hire you.
2) You’re just as good as everyone else at doing the work, but you’re superior as far as socialization, client interaction, and overall personality.
As I consider my current situation… If I had been insistent upon being only a computer programmer, I’d already be finished by now… I would have been finished many years ago.
As a video editor, I arrived to a gig where I met a former video editorial house owner who no longer owned his studio and was now doing computer maintenance to make ends meet… I had worked in the past out of HIS studio, and in the future, I was hired to edit at a place where he wasn’t even hired to edit.
Now, my fascination is getting involved in the no-money-making music industry.
I’ve always been a musician. I’ve always been a songwriter. I’ve been studying “making records” for the past 8 years and I’m relatively excellent at it.
The problem is that the product cycle is broken and won’t sustain itself without infusions of working capital which I can generate myself via editing videos.
I know I can do this, however, because I’ve already done it.
After my computer programming career, I began my video editing career “from the bottom now I’m here”, and I can easily do the same thing with music.
My Personal Relevance is intact.
I know who I am and what I can do and what my work ethic is and who my friends are and what I’m bringing to the table and what I’m willing to do and what I’m not willing to do.
All of these things are extremely important because the answer to your question might not be getting more work in your previous field of expertise but generating value in an entirely new field.
Again, it’s optimal for you to think about this and set this up BEFORE you exit your current field, but even if you waited until it was too late, you have to be able to consider changing gears and vectors on a dime and making something good happen for yourself as soon as possible.
Like Tyler Durden said, you are NOT your job and you are NOT the amount of money you have in your wallet.
Today’s a new day. 😀 … If you lost your girlfriend, wake TF up and hit the streets and get another one right now.
If you lost your job, peddle your wares to other companies right now.
If the wave of your earning potential crashed and evaporated, start studying right now, or start applying different skills including basket weaving right now.
It’s a vicious cycle.
The more time you spend wallowing in self-pity or self-disgust, the more you believe that about yourself, and the tougher it becomes to dig yourself out of the hole you dug for yourself.
Clear your mind.
Make a list of what you’re bringing to the table that’s better than what other people are offering.
Make a list of the things you’re willing to do for work and the ranges of payment you’re willing to accept for that work.
Figure out where you can go to meet new women where you don’t have to spend $300 for a $30 bottle of vodka. 😀
If you’re reading this, you’re still breathing, so get TF up and make something happen for yourself! 😀